Horlicks promotion management


Horlicks is the leading health food drinks in India and enjoys more than 50% market share. It has been a popular brand in the country since 1930's. Today, horlicks stands for trust and promise of "pleasurable nourishment" with a delicious range of flavors in chocolate, vanilla and elaichi. It is a brand owned by GSK i.e. Glaxo smith Kline, the success of the brand lies in its ability to change with the changing consumer. The major competitor for horlicks is complan, bourn vita and other malt based drinks. Such is the brand equity of Horlicks that Nestle has withdrawn from the market its brand called Milo. Dabur has entered the market with Chyawan Junior as a rival to GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare's other brand, Boost, and has stayed clear of Horlicks. Despite its popularity however, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Health Care (GSKCH), which manufactures Horlicks, has taken care to ensure that the product does not stagnate.


The new strategy of the company is to extend the brand into a family health drink brand with variants suiting every member of the family i.e. Parents and Kids. Therefore the different segments targeted and the strategies used for this purpose are:

  • The brand initially was aimed at kids aged around 6- 16 years and has been successful in establishing its present there.
  • The brand in 2005 extended itself to a new segment: adults with its Horlicks Lite variant. The Lite boasts about Zero Cholestrol, Zero Added sugar is clearly aimed at the Parents.
  • The brand also came up with another line extension Junior Horlicks aimed at pre-schoolers. Junior Horlicks claims to have DHA which is an Omega-3 fatty acid which will boost the brain power.
  • Women's Horlicks is India's first health drink designed specifically for women's nutritional needs. It targets the health conscious urban working women, in metros and mini-metros, leading hectic lives balancing career and family.
  • With these three variants, Horlicks have covered all the life stages (except infant) of a consumer. The latest campaign of Lite aims at the lady in the house and reminds her to keep her husband active with Horlicks lite.

It underwent a revamp in 2003 with the introduction of flavors like Vanilla, Toffee, Elaichi and Chocolate to satisfy the discerning palate. What is perhaps more interesting, however, is GSKCH's strategy to segment the Indian market and to produce variants to satisfy each segment's unique needs. This is exemplified by products like Junior Horlicks, for pre-schoolers, Horlicks Lite, for health conscious adults and diabetics, and Mother's Horlicks, for pregnant and breast feeding women. In each case, GSKCH has striven to create a distinct and appealing image.


The name 'Horlicks' is entwined with memories of childhood - of getting up in the mornings and gulping down a glass before running to school, or coming back exhausted from a hard evening's play only to be rejuvenated by it. Since its creation by the Horlicks brothers in 1873 (originally intended as an artificial infant food), it has undergone numerous transformations. The main focus of horlicks is now on the new variant that is the women horlicks and it has been incorporating different promotional strategies in this regard.

  • GSKCH is promoting the product both through traditional print and TV media, and also by enlisting the support of professionals in the medical field. In a brilliant casting choice, eschewing the current glamour dolls of Bollywood, Konkana Sen. Sharma was selected as the face of the urban Indian woman of today, balancing career and home, a choice sure to resonate with most women. This, combined with the baseline, "Because your body needs you too!", starkly elegant in its very simplicity, captures the essence of the brand image GSK is trying to build.
  • GSKCH also introduced a Doctor Engagement Program wherein the company reaches out to physicians, dieticians and nutritionists to educate them about the product. Their core strategy lies in grabbing the mind space of the consumers, rather than following the more traditional hard-sell route.
  • Inspite of all such activities women horlicks could not manage to succeed in the market and a survey had been conducted to find out the reasons of failure. They survey found the following reasons for the same. Price; the product is perceived to be expensive by the customers surveyed. Packaging; one of the most important facts discovered through the primary research was that when customers opened the container for the first time after purchase, they were disappointed with the amount (volume) of Women's Horlicks in the container. They felt cheated and swindled. Taste; Finally, the primary research also brought to light another revealing fact4. Women place an enormous amount of emphasis on taste even for health product. Now, Women's Horlicks and regular Horlicks are fairly similar in taste; therefore, women do not perceive a difference between the two products and hence do not find any justification to buy the more expensive product.

  • For catering to the rural segment they introduced another variant that is the Asha from Horlicks is priced at Rs 85 for a 500-gram pouch pack way below the price tag of Rs 135 on a Horlicks pack of a similar size. There is also a 200-gram pack that will cost Rs 50.
  • Horlicks has launched a fun and informative website for kids and mothers. The web site, www.myhorlicks.com. The website is especially for kids aged 6-16 and mothers, providing a platform for Horlicks to now communicate directly about the kids' requirements. It is user friendly and has easy navigation options and up loads quickly even on a Dial-Up connection. The website contains curiosities such as a Horlicks Corner, Fun Corner, Games and Downloads and a dedicated Mum's Corner. The Horlicks Corner provides information about the history of Horlicks and about Horlicks today. The Fun Corner show cases current promotions and greeting cards for friends and loved ones.
  • One of such promotions is the 'Exam Campaign' which gives away a useful and attractive exam board with every 400g pack of Horlicks.
  • Different variants of flavors and packages, including Junior Horlicks1-2-3 which is specially designed for pre-school children and comes in an innovative elephant jar and the Horlicks Biscuits which has Calcium of three glasses of milk
  • The latest campaign of Lite aims at the lady in the house and reminds her to keep her husband active with Horlicks lite.
  • Horlicks to offer free magazines. Horlicks has tied up with IPC magazines in partnership campaign aiming to encourage people to drink the product earlier in the evening.
  • A commercial is a logical extension of the Epang Opang Japang campaign which highlighted the benefits of the brand and helped the brand to differentiate strongly from the competition. The brand also takes the medical platform by labeling the product as "Clinically Proven ". Horlicks has convincingly told the customers that the brand can help the kids become stronger taller and sharper.


Pull marketing is where you develop advertising and promotional strategies that are meant to entice the prospect to buy your product or service. With pull marketing, you are trying to create a sense of increased, time limited value so that the customer will come into your store to buy.

Push marketing is where you develop advertising and promotional strategies geared toward your marketing and distribution channels to entice them in promoting your product. It might include wholesale discounts, kickbacks, bonuses, and other types of support. It's all designed to have the retailer promote your product to the end users over a different product.

  • GSK has used push strategy for horlicks. GSK did a fantastic job of TV advertisements to promote the Horlicks brand. As a result brand awareness and brand recognition among the sample target population is fairly high. Thus a very good percentage of it has translated into actual sales. Because of the heavy advertisements consumers are aware of this and so it is available in different stores and even medical stores.thus we can say that they use push strategy.


Though the promotional tools were simply up to the mark like a website, the different packaging for junior horliks, the campaigns, the advertisements targeting the different segments but still some loopholes could be found.

  • In case of the women horlicks it just could not manage a strong hold in the market because of the points already mentioned above like the price, taste etc...
  • Another point that adds to its critics is the introduction of the asha under horlicks. It was catering to the rural sector. But one might question on its quality and the prices so it is a complete trade off between the two.

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